Sunday, January 22, 2017

What is a ruler foot?

What is a ruler foot? I have been asked that question so let me attempt to explain.

On a sewing machine, a foot is always used to hold down the fabric while it is stitched. 

This is my go-to foot to use on my machine. It fastens onto the machine and the needle goes up and down in that opening.

There are feed dogs under the foot that pull the fabric through the machine while it is stitching.

When a person does free-motion quilting, the feed dogs are lowered because the person guiding the fabric doesn't want to fight with the feed dogs feeding front to back. Fabric can be moved in any direction when free-motion quilting. So the feed dogs are lowered and a free-motion quilting foot is used. Here is the foot I use.

The foot is open so I can see the needle easily. This foot bounces on the fabric so it does not continually hold the fabric like a traditional foot. This bouncing allows me to move the fabric as I am stitching.

A ruler foot is another free-motion quilting foot. It acts like a regular free-motion foot but the bottom is taller. The foot still bounces on the fabric but it is tall/thick enough that it will not inadvertently bounce onto the ruler and shatter a needle.

In the following picture, the regular free-motion foot is on the left and the ruler foot is on the right.

The free-motion quilting rulers are thick usually about 1/4". That makes it harder to accidentally move them under the needle or have the foot accidentally bounce onto the ruler.

Why use free-motion rulers? I can stitch straight lines easier as well as circles and other shapes. My shapes are more uniform. 

I love free-motion quilting and the ruler foot and rulers are just another tool for me to use.

Hope that helps!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Turtle Quilt is finished.

I decided the green Irish chain, which I made on a retreatneeded something. I added some turtles and then some borders. The binding also reflects the  great colors of the turtles.

I used my new rulers to quilt this quilt. The turtles have diamonds around them.

The 9-patch blocks have squares - I don't think you can see the inner one; it's in the ditch around the center green square.

This quilt has been laundered and you can see the crinkliness from the Dream Cotton batting. Did you know that crinkliness is a word?

I used Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting. Oh, can you see the turtle tracks around the green border? I like my wavy line ruler.

Did you notice the binding above? It goes quite well with the back. I love color especially in children's quilts. I hope some child will fall in love with this donation quilt.

The Turtle Quilt is 55" by 55" and another quilt from my clean-out-this-stash project.


Update on my clean-out-this-stash project:

The pile of quilt tops is getting smaller - yay!

Parts of two quilts are rolled on boards ready to be pinned.

There are a couple of pinned quilts that need to be quilted.

I am currently quilting one quilt using my wavy line ruler.

There are a couple of quilts that need the binding hand sewn.

I'm beginning to feel like this project really is manageable! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Red and Blue Stars

Another donation quilt from my clean-out-this-stash project is finished! The Red and Blue Stars is based on a flannel quilt kit that I bought a number of years ago and made recently. You can see it here.

This larger version is 64" by 64". I used Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting. Have you picked up on a theme? I love Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting.

I free motion quilted this with a wavy line crossing the quilt. I got the idea from Cheryl at Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting - she used a smaller tighter wavy line on her bear paw quilts. Cheryl said she got the idea from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts. It's a quick quilting motif that is easy to do and adds texture.

The back is more navy than the picture looks. It's a piece of fabric that just happened to be in my stash.

Our weather is cold and very damp. We've had lots of ice recently so no outside photos.

I have 3 or 4 quilts that just need the binding sewn down so I may have more January finishes.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bernina Ruler Foot and Rulers

I'm learning to use the adjustable Bernina ruler foot and rulers. Actually the ruler foot is simple to use - it's almost like using any quilting foot except you adjust the height. Adjusting the height is easy although I may never have to adjust it again since most of my quilts are the same thickness. Even though the toe isn't open, you can see what you are doing. The only weird thing is that you have to lower the foot to thread the needle.

A variety of rulers came with the Bernina Ruler Package. Ignore the blue painters tape holding the pieces together.
I haven't removed all of the white paper from the backs yet.

I practiced for a while on a practice sandwich and then decided to just concentrate on one thing at a time. I chose the straight edge and a child-size quilt. 

I cross hatched the center, 

did some interesting stitching on the navy border, 

did some in-the-ditch-stitching, and did some straight stitching on the outer borders. Everything was done with the same ruler and free motion quilting.  That interesting stitching on the navy border required a little math to figure it out which was good for my mind!

I had to hold the ruler in different directions with each of my hands. Using either hand to holding the ruler and keeping the ruler from slipping are the hardest parts. Some of the rulers in my set are pretty small and my invisigrip won't stay on them. You don't have to look close to find my bobbles! I did not turn the quilt like you would with a walking foot - I just sewed in whatever direction was needed.

Before I began my second quilt, I was able to get some grips - little sandpaper disks - that work great. I did a second quilt using the straight edge with the grips on it and the ruler held much better.

It was much easier and I think I'm beginning to adjust to using the ruler in different directions.

Can you see the grips on the ruler?

When I finished the center of the quilt and got to the border, I decided to try a different ruler. I had no problems holding it or matching up the ruler to the design.

I'm looking forward to trying all of the rulers and eventually getting more. They are easy and fun to use. 

Do you like my cool purple gloves? I've always worn white Machingers but decided to try the Grabaroos. They work about the same and add more color to my life!

Some Knitting Finishes

I have some knitting finishes - it seems that I'm always working on a variety of projects and all of a sudden, a few were done!

First is a Gansey Cowl. The pattern is Chunky Gansey Cowl. I did modify the pattern - I added 12 stitches to make it a little larger.

I used JaggerSpun yarn and I think this will look good with my new Gansey Hat.


Next is The Manning Park Hat, an easy knit with a double brim. You can see the inside is white in the second picture. The detailed edge has a picot trim which I'll probably skip next time. I used Rauma Mitu yarn - it is wonderful to work with and warm to wear.

My friend, Nancy, helped with the pompom. I hadn't made one in MANY years. Nancy has a great pom pom maker - I think I need to invest in one.


Last is another pair of socks.  I don't think I can ever have enough hand knit socks. I used Fiber Seed Sprout yarn in the color Electric Slide. I love this yarn!

I again used Ann Budd's pattern for 7 stitches per inch from her book. However, this time I tried a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. It is so easy to do and feels great. I think it is my new go-to-heel.


I'll be casting on another pair of socks soon. I'm also working on a sweater - I just need to have the pattern changes worked out before I begin.

A quilt and dpn cases

I have a couple of quilting finishes. . .

First is the Jungle Quilt. This is the first quilt that I quilted with my new Bernina ruler foot and rulers. I'll talk more about the ruler foot and rulers in another post. This donation quilt is 46" by 46". It is part of my clean-out-this-stash project. I used Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting and Dream Cotton batting. 

This fabric is left from a couple of baby quilts. The borders are also pieces that were leftover from the same fabric line -  there are giraffes,


and the top and bottom are both monkeys.

The back is large white polka dots on yellow with a strip of the jungle fabric.
I decided to add a striped binding that had the same colors as the rainbow in the fabric.


A while back, I made myself a dpn (double pointed needle) case to hold some of my knitting needles. Recently I made a couple more for a friend.

The cases rolled up. Mine is the orange/red case - I didn't put a button and loop on it. My original patten gets better every time I make it.

When the case is open, you can see how the needles fit in. The cases close with velcro. The needles are held so they cannot fall out.

Each case is quilted but I'm not sure you can see that in the pictures.

I'm not planning to make anymore but you never know...


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